Pakistan batter Shan Masood feels that fielding the same combination on a repeated basis has been the side's most important trait heading into the T20 World Cup 2022. The Men in Green have had to make changes due to injuries of late, but with the roles of the players clearly defined, they have a fair idea of their ideal playing XI.
Bolstered by the return of Shaheen Afridi, their pace-bowling unit looks in good shape. Haris Rauf is a certainty in the playing XI, while the spot for the third seamer is arguably still up for grabs.
Naseem Shah has impressed since making his T20I debut in the Asia Cup and is ahead of Mohammad Wasim and Mohammad Hasnain in the pecking order.
Babar Azam's side also made a late change to their T20 World Cup 2022 squad. Leg-spinner Usman Qadir paved the way for the return of Fakhar Zaman, who was on the stand-by list.
Stating how Pakistan came up with their own blueprint based on their strengths, Masood wrote in his column for the PCB website:
"Over these 12 games, the most important thing I feel has been fielding the consistent combination that we feel will help us compete at the World Cup on all fronts. Each team has their own unique blueprint and, though, there are demands of modern day cricket, you have to mix it with your own strengths to come up with your own unique blueprint."
Talk of the town predominantly surrounded the frailty of the Pakistan middle order, leading to a rather conservative approach employed by the opening baters.
Noting that Babar and Mohammad Rizwan are the backbone of Pakistan's batting unit, Masood wrote:
"Our openers – Babar Azam and Mohammad Riznwan – have been the backbone of our team and are amongst the top three players in the world. The rest of the batting order revolves around them.
"There will be times where they get out early and someone will have to step up and do their job but then there will be times when they will set platform for us we will have to get going."
Mohammad Nawaz's promotion to No. 4 as a floater has worked wonders for Pakistan so far. His blistering cameos in the recently concluded tri-series in New Zealand led to the Men in Green wrapping up their preparations for the T20 World Cup in style.
"As of now, I am not satisfied with my performances" - Shan Masood reflects on his T20I career so far
The left-handed batter earned a shock call-up to the national T20 side and made his debut during the seven-match T20I series against England at home.
Playing at No. 3 in the absence of Fakhar Zaman, Masood has had a lukewarm start to his T20I career.
Far from being pleased with his own performances - 220 runs at a strike rate of 125 - Masood wrote:
"As of now, I am not satisfied with my performances. I would like to contribute more and make more of an impact. My focus has and will solely be on playing the role required and learning from the mistakes I have made."
Masood also shed light on the tantalizing pace bowling attack that will be on show at the tournament, especially after the return of Afridi. He wrote:
"Our bowling unit has grown in stature on this tour. Haris Rauf has taken the baton from Shaheen Afridi as a spearhead while he has been away, and boy what an exciting prospect will it be when we pair them together along with Naseem Shah, Mohammad Wasim Jnr and Mohammad Hasnain."
The Pakistani pace attack performed admirably well in the previous edition of the World Cup in the UAE. With the surfaces in Australia offering a lot more assistance to the seamers, expectations are high from the Pakistani pacers.
How will Pakistan fare at the T20 World Cup 2022? Let us know what you think.
Also Read: T20 World Cup 2022: "First time he has missed the middle of the bat ever against us" - Kane Richardson on taking Suryakumar Yadav's wicket during warm-up fixture
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